In this article we’ll cover the following:
- How do abusers use meth?
- How meth take over its abusers’ lives?
- What are the effects of meth?
- Is meth overdose possible?
- How is meth abuse treated?
Methamphetamine is a central nervous system stimulant drug. The pharmaceutical grade of meth is legal for medical use in adults with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) or obesity. But there’s a form of methamphetamine that can cause addiction, the crystal methamphetamine.
Crystal meth is one type of this stimulant drug that gives a ‘euphoric’ feeling. That’s the reason why over the years, there’s a growing number of crystal meth abusers, in the US and other parts of the world. Crystal meth has many street names like speed, meth, and chalk. It comes in clear and chunky crystals that look like ice.
How do abusers use meth?
Meth abusers get the euphoria they want by:
- Swallowing the pill
- Intranasal or snorting the meth powder
- Injecting the dissolved meth powder (it’s dissolved in water or alcohol)
Meth’s effects start immediately, but it fades quickly. That’s why abusers tend to do a ‘binge and crash’ and take repeated doses of meth to enjoy its effects. Some meth abusers do a form of binging called ‘run’ where they go on for several days without food and sleep while taking the drug in repeated doses.
How meth take over its abusers’ lives?
There are varying degrees that show how meth addiction takes over the lives of their abusers:
Low-Intensity Meth Abuse
The low-intensity meth abusers use meth by swallowing or snorting them. The extra stimulation they feel from meth gives them extra energy to finish their tasks. They’re not necessarily addicts of meth and don’t do ‘binge’ using.
Binge Meth Abuse
Binge meth abusers use smoking or injections to get the euphoria from meth. These addicts want a stronger ‘rush’ feeling and want a more powerful dose of meth. They have a big chance of becoming a high-intensity abuser.
High-Intensity Meth Abuse
The high-intensity abusers are the meth addicts. They are very dependent on the drug that their whole existence revolves around meth. Users tend to take more and more doses to achieve their desired euphoria.
What are the effects of meth?
Methamphetamine effects affect the brain as it increases the level of neurotransmitters like dopamine in the brain. Dopamine plays a significant role in our body movements, pleasure, and reward. With meth’s ability to release high levels of dopamine in the ‘reward’ parts of the brain, meth abusers will feel the euphoric rush.
These short-term effects of methamphetamine might occur to someone even if they took it in small amounts:
- Increased energy and physical activity
- Faster breathing
- Lessened appetite
- Higher blood pressure and heart rate than usual
- Irregular heartbeat
Continued meth use can have a lot of long-term adverse effects in the body. Meth abusers who inject meth are at risk of contracting infectious diseases like HIV. This can be a very life-threatening since HIV patients who use meth worsen the progression of the infection.
Here are other long-term effects of using meth:
- Altered judgment
- Drastic weight loss
- ‘Meth Mouth’ (dental problems)
- Violent behavior
- Sleeping disorders
- Emotional and cognitive problems
- Increased risk of Parkinson’s disease
- Sores and infections of the skin
- Cardiovascular disease
The effects of meth on second-hand smokers are yet to be found. What researchers are still researching is if secondhand smokers can get the euphoric effect of meth or other negative consequences.
Is meth overdose possible?
The answer is yes, it’s possible. An overdose of meth occurs when a person takes too much of the drug and suffers from a toxic reaction. The reaction can turn into serious results and even death.
Usually, meth overdose leads to heart attack, stroke, and organ problems.
What are the stages of meth abuse?
- The Rush – this is the first and initial stage of meth abuse. In this stage, the abuser’s heartbeat rises just like their metabolism and blood pressure. This stage may last up to 30 minutes.
- The High – following the rush is high. In this stage, the abuser becomes more aggressive and often engages in arguments. They may also experience delusional effects and be insignificantly focused on one action. This stage can last four to sixteen hours.
- The Binge – this is the stage where there’s an uncontrolled use of meth. Their urge to maintain the high encourages them to smoke more and more meth. The abuser becomes mentally and physically active by this time.
- Tweaking – a meth abuser may be most dangerous at this stage. This is the stage at the end of binge where the abuser no longer feels high from meth, and it’ll be annoying for him. His unsatisfied cravings will make him lose his sense. Self-mutilation is great at this stage.
- The Crash – to a meth addict, the crash happens when their body starts to shut down. This stage results in an extended period of sleep.
- Meth Hangover – after the crash, the meth abuser will return in a dehydrated and tired stage. They’re eventually physically, emotionally, and mentally drained. It may last from two to fourteen days.
- Withdrawal – usually, it takes thirty to ninety days will pass before the abuser realizes that he’s in the withdrawal stage. He’ll become depressed for some time and loses interest in pleasure. Then he’ll find himself craving for the high from meth again. Some abusers on this stage are suicidal.
How is meth abuse treated?
For a methamphetamine abuse, there are a lot of treatment centers that provide therapies that may help them live a sober life. Meth abusers, just like other drug addicts, need to go an addiction rehab process. There are treatment centers that offer residential treatments.
They may provide behavioral therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy, rational emotive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and others. They’ll also be included in workshops and group therapy.
As of now, there are no medications approved by the government to be used to counteract the effects of methamphetamine.